Court strips man of notary public status

The Yukon Supreme Court revoked a Whitehorse man's notary public status earlier this week in light of allegations that he was misusing its power and that he has a questionable understanding of the law.

The Yukon Supreme Court revoked a Whitehorse man’s notary public status earlier this week in light of allegations that he was misusing its power and that he has a questionable understanding of the law.

A Calgary lawyer complained in a letter that James Clifford Hanna improperly witnessed and notarized a document, and that it was “not in a format recognized by the courts.”

Hanna admitted in an affidavit that he has witnessed the signing of documents over Skype teleconference calls on several occasions, but argued that there is nothing in the Notaries Act that explicitly allows or disallows the practice.

Hanna, who practises dentistry on horses, did not appear in court to defend himself.

When the News spoke with him yesterday, he said he had received no official notice of the termination of his position.

However, he had expected that outcome, he said.

“It’s their commission, they gave it to me, and they can take it away, so that’s just fine,” Hanna said.

The original complaint against Hanna suggested that the documents he notarized might be associated with a group called the “Freemen,” who had been clogging up the Alberta courts with strange legal requests.

Hanna said that he has never heard of the group, and that he is not responsible for the contents of the documents he notarizes.

The Freemen, or Freeman on the Land, is a loose organization of libertarian thinkers who do not believe they are subject to the laws of Canada.

The RCMP last year released a bulletin warning that members of the group may pose a threat to officers because they “believe that they have the right to use force, including deadly force, in defence of their land, property and family.”

While Hanna insisted that he knows nothing of the organization, some of his actions are consistent with tactics espoused by followers of the movement.

In May, Hanna wrote a letter to the attorney general of Canada claiming that he had revoked the state’s power of attorney over him.

Attached to the letter was a schedule of fees stating that if he were to be handcuffed, transported, incarcerated, or subjected to any adjudication process “without express written and notarized consent from me,” the government would owe him $2,000 per hour in addition to a flat fee of $50,000.

One indication of involvement with the Freemen movement is a document which the owner claims “entitles them to charge fees if they are detained, questioned, or ‘otherwise regulated,’” according to the RCMP bulletin.

In 2006, Hanna unsuccessfully argued in court that he has no duty to pay income tax because his name represents a legal entity for which he has never accepted responsibility, and that he is therefore not liable for debts associated with that name.

This pseudo-legalese is consistent with suggestions made on the website detaxcanada.org, which is connected with the Freemen movement.

After being alerted to the group’s existence by the News, Hanna said that he was interested in learning more about the Freemen, since they seem to have caught people’s attention.

“I think that all of these things need to be looked at carefully and that our status quo is not as effective as it could be, and I’d like to see it better.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com